What’s Oktoberfest without beer? You can find out for yourself at OktSOBERfest, Calgary’s first alcohol and drug free music festival at Jack Singer Concert Hall on Oct. 29.
Event organizer Jayme Minor realized long ago that he could have just as much fun without alcohol, but lacked the opportunity to participate in large-scale events with a sober crowd.
“I looked around and I was like, ‘there’s not a lot of things that say, come have sober fun, come party without drugs, without alcohol.’ So I was like, I guess I’ll just do it myself,” said Minor.
OktSOBERfest encourages participants to learn about the power of sobriety.
The event showcases dancing, live performances, free treats, contests and information about recovery and mental health services.
Although sober events exist, Minor says they don’t get the same profile as events that serve alcohol.
“They’re a little bit protective because they have people that are really vulnerable and active in a recovery,” said Minor
Part of the motivation for this event was Minor’s desire to let people experience sober fun. Creating an environment where that is possible, he says, is the first step to show people that sobriety is not always as daunting as it appears.
“I find a lot of it is surrounded by the hard work, how scary it is, the horror stories where I want to show people the positive, because I know the power of positivity.”
Although he says that sobriety has changed his life, Minor began his recovery with a much different outlook.
“I remember balling my eyes out. I was so embarrassed. I was so terrified.”
Rehab started an ongoing transformation for Minor that saved his life, he says. But he worries that not everyone can afford the $20,000 it cost for his rehab program.
Last year, OktSOBERfest raised $30,000 through a GoFundMe. The money was distributed directly to provide mental health and counselling services to those in need.
Part of the fundraising went to support a young man who will celebrate a year of sobriety at OktSOBERfest.
“He was addicted to meth, overdosed, died, brought back to life, got clean, and then was like, ‘I have an insane amount of trauma. If I don’t fix this trauma, I’ll never be able to beat the addiction,’” said Minor.
Minor’s organization was able to cover the cost of the young man’s counselling sessions.
This year, Minor has given donors the opportunity to win one of three prizes as an extra incentive. Donors will also have a chance to win one of three prizes – a weekend Ferrari rental, a sober retreat in Nicaragua, or four tickets to see the Calgary Flames